"The beautiful people of Honduras come to mind when I hear "inspire" and "courageous." I have been to Honduras three times on mission trips to an Orphanage in Guimaca that houses around 600 children."
“I want to be passionate about my city because my God is passionate about people.”
On August 25th, Our church will be hosting an event that will bring people from all over the Southeast. The Chick-fil-A® 3on3 Basketball Tournament and Family FunZone is a premiere event which provides a 3on3 basketball competition for communities. As well as the basketball tournament, the event holds a Family FunZone for families who are just looking for something fun and exciting to do on a weekend.
Probably the most exciting part about this event for our church is that the event is in Downtown Athens. Our backyard!
People from all different backgrounds, different lifestyles, and different seasons of life will be coming to this event.
So…you are asking yourself…Why should I care? I don’t play basketball. I don’t have kids.
Those may be true, but you still live in Athens. You still may work with some guys who love basketball, you may be in a bookclub with some girls who have young children, you still may have classes with people who are just searching for something to do.
We are all surrounded by someone who could be affected by this event. Not because basketball is so great, or the Family FunZone is extremely FUN!
But, because when all the programs and funzones and basketball courts have come and gone, the greatest means of compelling people to come into the kingdom of Christ will remain your personal witness to the truth and greatness of Jesus and how he meets your needs. YOU are the salt of the earth. YOU are the light of the world.
Now, how do we get connected? How do we put ourselves in a spot where we can start or continue relationships with people we encounter?
The biggest way is by volunteering for the event on August 25th. To register to be a volunteer, follow this link—-> http://bit.ly/NKaVF2. At the top of the page, above the video, you will see a tab for Volunteer Registration. This tab will take you to a secure site in which you can register to become a volunteer.
Another way is by inviting people to the event. This event will be a great starting point for inviting friends to your community group or church.
As always, what we truly ask for you to do is pray. Pray for Athens. Pray that this event will be a big step towards redeeming our city. Pray for the people, the families, the friends that will be attending.
As a church, the two things we are most passionate about exist in our name: Christ and community. Our community groups are a family of committed believers who live out the mission of God together in a specific geographic area or with a particular group of people. We are really excited about what is happening in our groups this year. Once in a while we are going to share stories from members about what is happening as we build life around each other.
Read this story from Brad Davis, a part of the community group for young families:
On Friday night, September 16, some of the parents with young kiddos (like, kids age 7 and under) got together for dinner at tasty Carrabbas. This was the first of what we hope will be monthly dinners out (without the kids) in order for parents with young kids to have some quality time together - having a little bit of adult conversation, sharing in the current season of life and its unique challenges and joys, and a chance to get to know each other.
The great thing about Friday night was that it mushroomed just a little and we ended up with people who have been around a long while, and folks who have showed up more recently. We also ended up with two couples whose kids are pretty much grown. Having this mix of folks made a much richer evening with sharing between generations and life stage. I was encouraged and excited that they showed up!
As I looked down the long table of 16 folks, I saw a lot of smiles and laughter. It felt good to be a part of a group of people who care about each other. It was a gathering that I would be really comfortable inviting someone new to attend.
The only negative was that I couldn’t get down to the other end of the table to talk to those people. That will have to happen next time – or in one of the other contexts in which we meet. Our Community Group meets in a very dynamic rhythm. Each month we have our parent’s dinner night out, and a family friendly event with the kids like swimming last month, and Pump-it-Up later this month. In addition, the men are having lunch together every Tuesday and the women are having dinner or getting together for coffee each week. This schedule seems to work for this busy stage of life, and it occurred to me recently that one of the nice things about it is that our time together isn’t always the “leftover” time of day like after the kids are in bed. We’re meeting during times of the day, week, and month that we’d already be doing something anyway, which is a much more natural way to share community together.
With the new move to the 130 Foundry Building, we think it will be a great opportunity to build community with each other and get to know downtown Athens. Here are a few suggestions of places to grab coffee/breakfast or lunch right near our gathering:
1. O.K. Coffee
2. The Grill
3. Amici Italian Cafe / SaladWorks
4. Walkers Coffee Shop & Pub
5. Mellow Mushroom
6. East West Bistro
1. Taqueria del Sol
2. Big City Bread
3. Farm 255. Open 11 AM - 2 PM.
4. Last Resort Grill
6. The Globe
Five other coffee/breakfast options near the 130 Foundry Building:
Starbucks - downtown Athens, corner of College Ave & Broad St.
Five Star Day - downtown Athens, corner of College Ave & Broad St.
Espresso Royale - downtown Athens, corner of Jackson St & Broad St.
Mama’s Boy - 197 Oak Street, Athens. Open 8 AM - 2:30 PM.
Jittery Joes at Five Points - 1210 S Milledge Ave, Athens.
[vimeo 22754743 w=500 h=281]
If you have been around gatherings of Christ Community Church for a while now, no doubt you’ve heard Matt or me or any other of our leadership using words like ‘community’ and ‘family’ and ‘mission’. We use them often. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if, over time, those words have begun to sound like ‘blah’ and ‘blah’ and ‘blah’. And I am pretty sure that some of us are tired of simply hearing these terms spoken and would love to see them actually lived out. I know I would. Seeing a family of missionaries living in community would be a helpful, instructional picture. I think I have a great example.
But I need 14 minutes of your time. Below is a link to a video created by Jeff Vanderstelt at the Soma church in Tacoma, Washington. It isn’t a sermon or a how-to video. It is simply a picture (a wonderfully produced picture at that) of people living out their lives in a way that will probably make you, at once, envious and encouraged. It is a picture of community and mission that I think we would all want to see reflected in our own lives and in our Community Groups.And it’ll probably make you want to move to Tacoma. But it rains a lot there. Don’t go yet. Just watch the video.Be encouraged, David Hunt
Guest Post by Rachael Mirabella
I just want to say real quick, I have revolutionary friends.
I’ve known this for a couple years now. There was one day I was sitting back and reflecting on the beautiful gift of friendship the Lord has graced me with and it hit me. Not only are my friends wonderful people, they’re going to change things. They’re going to change this world for the better. In many ways they already have.
I looked up the definition of revolution. It reads: ‘a dramatic and wide-reaching change in the way something works or is organized or in people's ideas about it.’ I love that. A dramatic and wide-reaching change. The internet has revolutionized the way people gather information, Facebook has revolutionized the way we communicate and Apple has revolutionized - in their own words - everything. Everything technology anyway.
But I think these people I keep mentioning are going to revolutionize the world in a different way. They’re going to change it in the name of Jesus. They’re going to change it through love. I used to like the mental image of the Lord bringing people at UGA together in Athens for a short period of time to learn from each other and love each other, then literally scattering across the nations to proclaim His name. It’s beginning to happen. They’re spread across Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Louisiana, Colorado, California, Washington, The Gambia, Switzerland, Bolivia. Then there are the friends I know from other walks of life in Fayetteville, Chicago, Virginia, Florida, Indiana, Honduras, Peru, Germany, some soon to be traveling to Columbia and Zambia. They’re taking mission trips to Watoto and Scotland and Israel this summer.
Forgive me if there are places/people I forgot to mention here. And I couldn’t count on my fingers and toes the number of people I still know in this city that are changing it as they die to themselves and live for the King of the Universe, including four beautiful women I share a home with.
Maybe I’m bragging - but I’m bragging on them. Their friendship is a gift to me, not something I’ve earned. And they’re going to shine light in the dark places on this earth in Jesus’ name. I think so highly of them. I’m so thankful for them. And I’m beyond pumped to watch their lives unfold.
Love changes things. Grace makes life beautiful. They’ll be bringing both from the original source to the ends of the earth.
John Evans has been part of Christ Church for several years, most recently as a community group leader and office manager, before moving to Atlanta this week to pursue job opportunities. He asked to share this with you about his time in our church:
I started coming to Christ Community Church in the summer of 2008. It was a long road that led me there. Growing up, religion got me what I wanted – but when I got to college, it didn’t. I memorized scripture, I read the books, I even listened to John Piper sermons. Some of it was seeking, but lots of it was stiffness and about halfway through college, I felt the depth of my failure. I sensed the ways I had turned my God into a vending machine – I felt my heart grow hard and eventually my behavior reflected the emptiness inside. I realized, if my relationship with God relied on me living and loving like Jesus I was in big trouble. Mainly because, even if I could control my behavior, I knew I could never control my heart. I hated God’s righteousness and I thought He was angry with me because I could never measure up to the Christian life. I had quietly bought into the idea that Jesus gets us a second chance with God, but it’s up to me the second time around – the noise of life had drowned out the melody of the gospel.
It was about that time I started going to our Church. I went to one Community Group before I decided to join. I found family. I found a worldview called Grace. I began to tap my foot to the phrase, “gospel, community, mission.” As I sat under Matt’s preaching, I heard the power of the gospel – “We are not defined by our performance, we are defined by the performance of Jesus.” Our sin does not write our story, the gospel does. And the gospel is not just for evangelism – the gospel is for Christians! Over and over, I had been asking, “what do I do so that God will love me?” I got my answer, there is nothing I can do – and there is nothing left for me to do. Everything God requires of us, Jesus finished for us. There is daily grace for those who have tried and failed – the ability to succeed AND the freedom to fall short as we strive to follow the God we love!
I wonder how many Christians, like me, still think God is angry at them? Living like a gun is pointed at our head, expecting God to pull the trigger when we mess up. How quickly we forget that all the divine justice that was aimed at us, was emptied on Christ at the cross. We have to continually reaffirm this: Jesus stood in our place condemned, now we stand in His place perfectly loved and accepted by God forever. It is the best deal in the universe, it is a gospel for real life and it is a gospel for real sinners.
Our church has helped open my eyes to the nature of the Christian life, a life spent repenting over my sin and rejoicing over my Savior – resting in undeserved mercy and then fighting to live for the smile of God and the good of others. Today, there is no greater relief than my belief – Jesus died, He rose, He will come again. And I have no greater gift than my relationship with a God who is so good, great, gracious and glorious that… even I cannot help but love Him.
You’re supposed to post these when you join, I’m posting mine after three years of being stunned by God’s relentless pursuit of me through our gospel community. I am unbelievably thankful for Christ Church, my community group, the ministry of Frank Beedle and David Melton, and so many in our family… thank you Matt and Aaron, and most of all, Jesus. Love y’all.